Words of Life

Magicians & Merchants

Acts 19:

  • One of the dangers of miraculous signs is a distracting fascination with the supernatural. For the supernatural is not neutral, nor holy in nature. Both good and evil exist in the supernatural. The sons of Sceva (vss. 11-20) “practiced” the proclaiming of Jesus in order to satisfy their craving for power and novelty. This did not go well with them (vs. 16)! Jesus doesn’t, nor ever did he want our performance! It was not the performance nor the verbiage that put the son of Sceva in danger, but it was their failure to be in an intimate relationship with Jesus (knowing) rooted in trust (faith, not doing) – vs. 15. The result in this case was physical and emotional humiliation.
    • Lord, let us KNOW you, not just give lip service to you!
  • In the same city of Ephesus we see a cultural shift that has a negative impact on the city’s economy due to the decreasing demand for shrines to the goddess Artemis. Though concern is expressed for the changing of their religious way of life (vs. 27b), the root, and probably only real issues is actually their desire for wealth (vs. 25)! This desire for wealth escalated to a sustained riot (vss. 28-34) that put the city in danger of breaking Roman law (vs. 40a). Are we really so different with our muddled motives?!
    • Lord, as I experience the discomfort in changes around me, let me know the difference between Your way of peace & truth and my desire for what I want. Help me to want peace & truth badly enough to gladly weather a decreasing economy for the sake of this greater pursuit!

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